The Courage of a Samurai by Lori Tsugawa Whaley

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Lori Tsugawa Whaley is a professional keynote speaker, life coach, ethics consultant and storyteller-Japanese Folk Tales. Her book, The Courage of a Samurai (2016), has made her a bestselling author. Lori and her husband reside in a Japanese style home in the Pacific Northwest. Learn more about the author and her book.

Lori Tsugawa Whaley is a third generation Japanese American baby boomer and a descendant of the samurai warrior on the paternal side of her family; she is on a mission to empower others to reach their God-given leadership potential no matter their path, heritage, or circumstances. Without judgment and with a full heart, she lives the principles of honor, courage, rectitude, loyalty, honesty, self control, and compassion while inspiring others to do the same.

Lori was born shortly after World War II in a primarily rural Caucasian community disconnected from my Japanese heritage. Having grown up in a predominately white farming community, she struggled with being different. She channeled her unrest into tireless research and curiosity to study and embrace her Japanese heritage.

She studied at Portland State University, graduating in 1978 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree (with Honors). After that, she had the opportunity to work at the Tacoma Art Museum in Tacoma, Washington, where she was the assistant to the curator, international designer Sara Little Turnbull, who became her first mentor. She encouraged her to explore her Japanese heritage saying she was “more Japanese than she realized” and suggested that she travelled to Japan.

Since her initial trip to Japan in 1982, Lori has returned numerous times to study, visit, and have a deeper connection to her Japanese heritage. She has been reading, writing, interviewing, and studying relentlessly to search for answers; this is her passion and purpose in life.

The courage and compassion to guide others through tough times has been forged by her personal journey to regain wellness against demanding odds. Lori is a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) survivor.

The Courage of a Samurai is a mix of philosophy, religion, spirituality, and Asia history. It presents the principles and characteristics of bushido: courage, integrity, honesty, honor, benevolence, respect and ganbaru (stand firm) as a guide for navigating the challenges we all face personally and professionally, with examples of individuals who exemplify their meaning in today’s world. For the author, it represents a step of discovery and a journey home. The excitement around the book continues, as America goes through great change in 2017.


The Courage of a Samurai is a Japanese American’s journey into bushido, the samurai’s code of ethics. Each chapter features a timeless message about Japanese and Japanese Americans who applied the principles of courage, integrity, benevolence, respect, honesty, honor, and loyalty to overcome life’s challenges, and emerge stronger individuals. The Courage of a Samurai provides the reader a look ‘inside’ this ancient code through the lives of inspiring individuals.

Why did Chiune Sugihara, aka the Japanese Schindler, save the lives of Polish and Lithuanian Jews during World War II against the orders of the Japanese and Lithuanian governments? Understand the meaning of Honor in Saigo Takamori’s, aka The Last Samurai, determination to preserve the samurai’s way of life.  Learn why “Go for Broke!” was the motto of the famous World War II all-Nisei 100th/442nd RCT, and discover why this simple motto reflects the essence of the way of the warrior.

The Code of Bushido can guide us through the challenges we all face, and inspire us to live a life of honor, courage, and integrity in today’s fast-paced and changing world. Sharpen your sword, and let the journey begin!



One comment

  1. THE COURAGE OF A SAMURAI is a mix of history and spirituality. I found it very complete and inspiring. I discovered the unknown hard times Japanese had in USA and different spiritual principles. I learned a lot about Bushido code. It’s very interesting. Ganbaru was a new word to me (it means go for broke, don’t give up), and it’s very representative of Japanese thinking. I really liked this book!

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